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Pakistan gives Afghans three days to leave border areasBy Pakhtun Khan Shinwari Dec 22, 2010 - 17:22
ISLAMABAD (PAN): Afghans living in Landikotal and Torkham border areas of Pakistan's tribal region of Khyber have been asked to leave within three days or face legal action, an official said on
ISLAMABAD (PAN): Afghans living in Landikotal and Torkham border areas of Pakistan's tribal region of Khyber have been asked to leave within three days or face legal action, an official said on Wednesday.
As most of Afghan refugees in the tribal areas were suspected of involvement in criminal activities, the decision was taken at a joint meeting of Frontier Constabulary and local officials, Wasim Khan told Pajhwok Afghan News.
A few days back, a convoy of tankers carrying supplies for NATO-led soldiers in Afghanistan was torched in the Sadokhel, an area dominated by Afghans, he said. Most of the 2,000 Afghans live in Torkham, Bacha Mina, Gagra, Abdul Khad and Sadokhel.
But Haji Ibrahim, a tribal elder in Utmankhel area, rejected the accusation and said most of the refugees living in the areas were labourers, who respected Pakistani laws. "Since we cannot quit the areas in three days, we want the government to give us more time," Ibrahim said.
Another Afghan refugee, Mirajuddin, said they had refugee registration cards and could live in Pakistan for three more years.
Meanwhile, Afghan Consul General Salih Ahmad Sherzai said they were unaware of the deadline set for refugees. Any Afghan facing such problems should come to the consulate in Peshawar, he added.
UN Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesperson Qaiser Khan Afridi said the Pakistani government was in agreement with them to protect the Afghan refugees registered with NADRA.
The registered refugees had the right to live in Pakistan, he said, adding there were about 6,300 registered Afghans in Khyber --- 5,728 in Jamrud, 400 in Bara and 100 in Landikotal.
Besides the registered Afghans, there were still a large number of Afghans living in Khyber agency without any registration cards. Despite efforts, Afghan embassy officials in Islamabad could not be reached for comments.